This summer of 2008 I was fortunate enough to travel to India and volunteered for two weeks at VSPCA along with two of my classmates. I am interested in a career in Shelter Medicine and International Disaster Relief Work so this was a great opportunity to be exposed to a different side of veterinary medicine and to see how veterinarians manage with limited resources and difficult environmental conditions. The main function of VSPCA is to provide a spay, neuter and release program for the street dogs of the city. The skill and speed of the workers during the whole process of handling, pre-meddling, and anesthetizing these dogs was impressive to see, and the veterinarians performed the fastest spays I have ever seen – 7-8 minutes! The VSPCA has worked wonders with limited resources and the cats have two large beautiful enclosures. The cats themselves were healthy, alert and had beautiful glossy fur.
During my stay in India, I was able to travel a little and appreciate what a great job the VSPCA program is doing. The health of the street dogs and the attitude of the people towards animals were noticeably better in Visakhapatnam than other cities I visited. The people seemed less afraid of dogs knowing that they were vaccinated, and there was less aggression amongst the dogs themselves. There were also far fewer dogs! Overall it was a truly informative and amazing experience, and I was greatly inspired by the dedication and tirelessness of the people who run the shelter.